Did First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Journalist Lorena Hickok Break Up in Real Life?

Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt, 1935.Credit...
Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt, 1935.Credit...Bettmann/Corbis

Did First Lady ‘Eleanor Roosevelt’ and Journalist Lorena Hickok Break Up in Real Life? – Eleanor Roosevelt, the former first lady of the United States, was an activist, diplomat, and the wife of former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

She is, however, rarely thought of as a lover. Nevertheless, Amy Bloom, an American author, has written a new novel about Eleanor Roosevelt’s rumored real-life romance with female journalist Lorena Hickok.

Bloom, who has combed through the women’s tens of thousands of letters, says there’s little doubt they were in love. “We have 3,000 letters between them,” she says, “all of which are warm and passionate and exactly the kind of letters you’d expect lovers in the early stages of a romance to write.”

The First Lady,’ a Showtime series, examines the lives of three American first ladies during their time in the White House. The show follows Michelle Obama (Viola Davis)Betty Ford (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Eleanor Roosevelt (Gillian Anderson)  over three timelines, delving into their particular obstacles and triumphs.

We decided to find out what happened between the first lady and the famed journalist after seeing what appeared to be a split in Episode 9. Is it true that they ever broke up? Let’s have a look.

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Did Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt Break Up in Real Life
Amy Bloom’s novel takes the historical facts of Lorena Hickok (left) and Eleanor Roosevelt’s (centre) “close friendship” and branches out into fiction.(Getty Images: Bettmann)

Did Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt Really Break Up in Real-Life?

Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok had a long connection that began before the former became First Lady and lasted over thirty years. Their almost 3000 letters to one another used terms like “darling,” “dear one,” and “heart,” alluding to a deeper romantic bond between the two. Susan Quinn mentions a road journey the two took “together as a couple, all day and all night” in her 2016 book “Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady.”

Lorena was a successful journalist who was reportedly one of the first women to have her byline appear on the New York Times front page. She worked for the Associated Press for a couple of years and met Eleanor in 1928. Franklin D. Roosevelt was campaigning for governor of New York at the time. Lorena originally ignored Eleanor because she didn’t want to cover the less significant activities of a politician’s wife. Eleanor, on the other hand, had established herself as an influential counsellor to her husband by 1932.

Lorena was covering Eleanor Roosevelt when Franklin was on the campaign trail. Eleanor and the reporter became closer after the reporter spent weeks following her on the campaign trail. By the time Franklin D. Roosevelt became president, they had appeared to be in love. Since Eleanor read it to her the night before, Lorena was probably the first to hear the president’s famous “nothing to fear but fear itself” speech.

Lorena accompanied Eleanor to several engagements as their connection grew stronger, and the two shared private dinners at the Roosevelts’ townhouse. Eleanor’s frequent political, social, and family obligations, on the other hand, seemed to irritate the journalist. As the first lady became increasingly preoccupied with the approach of World War II, as dramatised in the series, she and her journalist confidante grew apart.

Lorena fell in love with Marion Harron, a United States Tax Court judge, in 1942. The letters between her and Eleanor continued, but they lacked the smouldering romanticism that had been hinted at in earlier letters. Lorena and Marion’s relationship ended, although the former’s friendship with Eleanor endured. Lorena was said to have suffered from arthritis in her later years and relied heavily on clothes and money brought to her by Eleanor.

Lorena died at the age of 75, just over five years after the previous first lady died in 1962. Their friendship, as well as what appeared to be a genuine affection for one another, lasted till the end. For several reasons, Eleanor and Lorena appear to have drifted apart in the 1940s. However, it appears that their relationship has cooled down rather than ended.

Stream all episodes of ‘The First Lady’ on Showtime.

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